STAPLES -- Where there is Hope, there is hope.
Hope Brown is a 14-month-old girl who is fighting for her life.
Hope, the daughter of Rob and Amanda Brown of Staples, was diagnosed with a rare cancer July 10.
"When I found out that Hope has rhabdomyosarcoma cancer it was like getting hit by a big Mack truck," said Amanda Brown. "I didn't know what to do, it just happened so quick and kept going."
Before the Browns knew what was wrong with Hope, they had doctors at Lakewood Clinic in Staples run every test they could think of and they found nothing. In the middle of April, Hope's condition worsened.
She was irritable, it hurt her when her diaper was being changed and her temperature was high. In June, she became dehydrated. Hope's mother said she frequently had ear infections, but she still did not know what was wrong with her daughter.
"You could just tell she hurt," said Brown. "It would hurt her to cuddle with her and Gage (the Browns' 4-year-old son) had to stop playing with her because she was so fragile."
The Browns decided to take Hope to the Minneapolis children's medical center July 10. A CT and bone scan was conducted on Hope and the doctors found a tumor, the size of a man's index finger, but more round, in her pelvis.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is an undifferentiated cancer that A cancer benefit auction and bake sale for Hope Brown and her family of Staples will be 1 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Bear's Den in Leader, 13 miles north of Motley on Highway 64.
For more information contact Janine Wells at 397-2339 or Ruth Bolden at 397-2483.
An account has also been established for Hope and her family at First Integrity Bank of Staples.
develops in the muscle tissue somewhere in the body and then attaches itself to the bone. About 250 people are diagnosed with this disease each year. Studies of this rare cancer indicate it has poor response to the typical cancer treatments.
"The doctors told us it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack," Brown said. "They said a cell in Hope's body just decided to go wacko."
The cancer had spread into Hope's bones and was moving quickly. It spread to her pelvis, rib, skull, eye and temple areas and into her bone marrow.
Hope's doctor took a small piece of the tumor out, but could not take it all out. If they would have removed the entire tumor, Hope could have experienced more problems. The doctors told the Browns that chemotherapy would be safer for their daughter.
Hope's first treatment started July 22. Hope was included in a study program for this type of cancer. The drug she began taking was not working. The tumor didn't clear, she had fluid in her lungs and she was in pain.
The family then decided to switch treatments and now Hope takes three other drugs. She will take these drugs, as long as they are working, for nine months.
"She is starting to turn around," said Brown. "She is playing more, eating again and seems to be happier."
Hope stays at the hospital during her chemotherapy treatments and when her temperature exceeds 105 degrees. Other days she can go home to Staples. Currently, the family is at the hospital and will be for about three weeks.
"She is a good little girl," said Brown. "All the nurses comment on what a trooper she is."
Because of the long-term care for Hope, her mother left her job as a dental assistant at Paul Henningson's practice in Brainerd. Rob Brown will try to continue to work at Mueller's pipeline in St. Cloud.
When at home, Amanda Brown feels like she should always be watching her daughter. She said she worries a lot, but believes once she gets used to her daughter's symptoms it will be easier.
Hope does not eat table food anymore and has quit crawling, so eventually her parents will have to reteach her how to crawl and how to sit up.
Brown said Hope is an easygoing infant, laid back and lightens up a room when she enters. Before she was sick, she hardly ever cried.
"Gage adores her and now you can see how worried he is about his sister," said Brown.
Gage has been spending a lot of time with his grandparents, Joan and Al Bendson of Leader.
"This is a big road for the family to travel down," said Joan Bendson. "The people at the hospital have been great."
Amanda Brown appreciates everything people are doing for the family. She said the generosity of others amazes her.
The Browns now have to wait to see how the drugs work in destroying the cancer in Hope's body.
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